Named after John Evans, the second governor of the territory of Colorado, Mount Evans stands tall at 14,271 feet above sea-level. It’s one of two fourteener summits that can be reached by a toll road, making it one of the most visited summits in the state and one of the most well-known peaks. However, the “Evans” name has recently been brought into question, thanks to John Evans’ stance on warfare against Native Americans and his role in the Sand Creek Massacre.
A petition to change the name of Mount Evans criticizes John Evans for allowing Colonel John Chivington to take a “hardline approach” against Native American tribes in the state, allowing attacks without formally declaring war. This spawned a series of attacks throughout 1864, one of which was the Sand Creek Massacre in southeast Colorado.
During the Sand Creek Massacre, approximately 675 Colorado U.S. Volunteer Cavalry soldiers attacked and destroyed a village, killing at least 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho Native Americans – two-thirds of which are said to have been women and children. While Chivington led the assault, Evans is said to have allowed the approach that made this possible.
The petition requests that the name Mount Evans be removed from the mountain and replaced with another name. It also states that Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes should be included in the renaming process. As of Wednesday afternoon, 40 people had signed.